The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog will start working on formulating national developmental goals after it conducts the mid-term appraisal of the 12th five-year plan. Bibek Debroy, member of the newly-constituted Aayog, told HT in an interview that the national developmental goals would be worked out in consultation with the states once the commission finalises the mid-term appraisal of the 12th five year plan (2012-2017). “I think the focus of the Niti Aayog should be the social sector, medium and small scale industries and environment,” he said. Some goals such as Swachh Bharat, Make in India, Skill India and Clean Ganga have already been declared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Aayog is expected to be the nodal agency to coordinate between different ministries and state governments to achieve the goals set under these programmes. India is unlikely to achieve the goals stipulated in the 12th plan but the appraisal exercise will be instrumental in framing the national developmental goals, a mandate of the Niti Aayog as per the cabinet resolution that junked the erstwhile Nehruvian era Planning Commission.
Debroy also said Aadhaar linked Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) was a key in measuring the outcome of the government schemes and having a realistic subsidy regime. “Why a person has to mandatorily buy a cooking gas cylinder? The better way is to give him the money and let him decide how he wants to use it,” he said.
The government has set June 2015 as the deadline to bring all schemes under the DBT mode and provide an Aadhaar number to all beneficiaries.
Correct identification of the poor is key for ensuring desired outcomes of the scheme and for that, the economist suggested that it should be ‘decentralised’ by allowing the gram sabha to identify the poor.
Debroy also said India needed a district level template for to reduce poverty and rejuvenate agriculture — the subject of the two task forces set up by the commission — to have real impact.
“I am not suggesting more centrally sponsored schemes but a different framework,” he said, adding that the two task forces would submit their report by June end.